Sunday, February 27, 2011

potato leek soup

Some days are better than others. I came to this conclusion recently when, around 4pm, I realized that the day I was currently in was not so great and had little chance of being salvaged. And yet I also realized that I can't have great days (days of bright sparkling fireworks of beauty, love, grace and butter) without crummy days thrown in along the way. Some how this knowledge helps me release the crummy days a bit more easily.
I also thought of this poem by Longfellow:

The Rainy Day

The day is cold, and dark and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the moldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark and dreary; 
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering past, 
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life a little rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

For me, potatoes are my comfort food. Mashed, roasted, baked, fried- I will take it all. This soup is simple to put together and the reward for minimal effort is velvety smooth and savory. Interestingly enough, unlike so many potato soups, there is no cream. I promise you will not miss it.

Note: aside from being great comfort food, this is also great party food. We had a Halloween party one year and I served little tea cups of this soup on the buffet. I loved the moment when I turned to see a couple of gentlemen guests carrying tea cups back into the kitchen for refills (several times.)

The recipe is from The Joy of Cooking.

potato leek soup

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large leeks (white part only), cleaned thoroughly and chopped
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
5 cups chicken stock

1) Melt the butter in a soup pot over low heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, until tender but not browned. This will take about 20 minutes.

2) Stir in the potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.

3) Puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (If feeling fancy, garnish with chives.)


  1. I love your writing and the addition of poetry is just lovely. I can't wait to try this out!

  2. Hi nichol! I am soooo happy to finally learn how to navigate a blog! I often check your blog for new recipes!Guess What?! Stan and Kathy brought me (many) grapefruit from Arizona and I was looking for a recipe and could not find one until...voila!Right here I learn how to do it! I adore your lovely writing and look forward to trying some of these recipes! Tomorrow....Potato Soup!

  3. I tried you recipe and it was very good. I enjoy your writing and love your recipes. Please post more soon! Thank you!

  4. Love that a "great day" includes butter. Totally agree.